White-hot pain wash over Jace MacAllister as the knife sliced though the thin black
material of his sleeve and into the muscle of his upper arm. He struggled to focus
his concentration, as he wrenched the man's arm tighter behind his back.
"Don't kill him," his partner, Cal Galloway barked, as Jace punched the soldier he
was fighting in the stomach.
Color drained from the young man as Jace pulled him inches from his face and looked
into his eyes. "Mate. I guess it's your lucky day," Jace said, in a thick New Zealand
accent through clenched teeth.
Rearing back he planted his forehead into the man's nose. The smell of copper filled
the air as blood bubbled freely, splattering the front of his shirt.
Fisting the front of the soldier's vest, Jace pulled him on to his toes, and slammed
the back of his head against the tile wall with a resounding thud. Shoving him violently, Jace
watched the blond man slide into a pile at his feet, and then reached for the man
attacking his partner.
He ground his fingers into the burly man’s shoulder and flipped him around to face
him. Curling his fingers into a fist, he drove it into the man's face.
The soldier dropped back a few steps, and tried to regain footing, but Jace didn't
wait. He pounced, solidly hitting him twice. The man groaned, tried to shake his
head clear, but then teetered forward. Jace side stepped, letting him fall face first
onto the floor.
"I had him," Cal said, struggling to pull himself up to his full height. Jace could
see his partner was unsteady even with his back pressed against the wall.
"Like hell you did. You were getting your ass kicked." Jace reached for Cal's arm
and helped him step over the unconscious men sprawled across the floor.
"I was doing fine." Cal raised his hand to wipe the flow of blood from his lip. "We
wouldn't have been in this mess if you'd gotten your information right. You said
this sector was deserted. Never trust a computer geek. They never get anything right."
Cal stopped and looked down. "Who cut your arm?"
Jace glared at him. "Mary freaking Poppins. Who the hell do you think cut me?” He
flipped a finger in the direction of the unconscious body on the floor. “That little
twit had a knife in the sleeve of his coat. REM taught us to carry knives in our
boot. When did they start carrying knives in their sleeves?" He pulled a handkerchief
from the pocket of his pants and He grimaced as he wound it around to stop the blood
seeping down his arm.
“Guess they’ve been teaching young dogs new tricks.” Cal glanced nonchalantly at
The link to mind-speak was opened with the simple command. Jace felt the tingle on
his forehead and then heard a buzz like bees were inside his head.
He and Cal were level-four telepaths for REM (the Regiment of Enlightened Militia).
Were, past-tense. Since he and Cal decided to question what they were doing for REM,
and go on the run, Jace guessed they’d now be classified as renegade agents.
Are you going to stand around all day being a Nancy boy or can we look for the file
that we broke in here for? Cal's telepathic link with Jace was clear as it usually
was between them.
Jace tried not to growl as he punched the numbers into his hand held PDA. A blueprint
grid spun, and then popped on screen. There was an instant message from Lukaus reading,
Did you get in?
Reading his thoughts Cal shot back, Tell that idiot computer programmer he almost
got us killed.
Jace typed in Cal’s reaction, and then relayed the reply. Lukaus says sorry. He also
says that if we keep heading down this corridor we'll end up at Jackson Lee's office.
Lukaus assures us that this floor is clean of any additional REM soldiers.
Jace took a second to double check the information as he saw Cal roll his eyes. There
was no heat data or movement picked up on the small grid except for the unconscious
men lying on the floor. It was clear. He raised his Delta Elite handgun. Why'd you
tell me not to kill that guy back there?
We promised Isabelle. I knew when he cut that chunk out of your arm you were going
to fillet him like a fish if I didn't say something fast. Cal fell in beside him.
Isabelle was Cal's wife. Not his. Jace liked Isabelle. He was happy when she'd married
Cal a few weeks back, the two of them were good together.
Before they left for REM headquarters, Jace promised Isabelle, against his better
judgment, that no one would be hurt. He didn’t want to disappoint her, or face Cal’s
A month ago he and Cal had been the top soldiers in REM's dream study division. But
to save their lives, Isabelle had wished they no longer existed as part of REM. Isabelle's
dreams changed the outside world and no one, including REM, remembered who they were.
Once she made a wish, reality changed.
Cal learned the extent of Isabelle’s powers the hard way. She thought Cal was trying
to kill her, and wished him away, leaving him to spend a week in hell. From what
Jace pieced together, Cal had been in a blackness of non-existence. He still wouldn’t
talk about it.
Jace experienced heavy guilt over this. Cal was his partner. Cal put his life on
the line numerous times to save him. How could he have not remembered him? He should
have been there to help him, but instead he’d left him there in the darkness to almost
die. Until Isabelle wished Cal back, Cal never existed.
It was still hard for Jace to wrap his head around.
He and Cal had been partners and soldiers with REM dream studies since they’d been
young men. REM took them in, giving them a purpose. That was before the bastards
started lying about what they were truly after… Isabelle and the other dreamers.
The dreamers could alter the world. With the dreamers captive, REM could shift leaders,
change countries powers and shuffle the worlds cash flows. Anything with a simple
wish from a dreamer, and things would change forever.
Pulling in a deep breath, Jace popped the clip out of his gun in a smooth motion,
inspected it, and then shoved it back, hard, to make sure it was fully engaged.
Before they had come back to REM headquarters, Jace and Cal had sworn they’d help
Isabelle and any other innocent victims still out there.
Somehow, in the last crazy month, he and Cal turned into the good guys... and REM
the bad. Jace reminded himself that's why he was here breaking into REM's high security
base. Otherwise, it was a insane suicide mission.
Clad in black, they moved down the hall in silent precision. Standing at over six-three
in height, they mirrored each other. Light and dark. Cal was blond and fair, Jace had
tanned dark skin, with a mane of tumbled black hair. Both of them represented what
they were to anyone who saw them in their element… deadly.
"Are the alarms still disabled?" Cal asked, moving ahead a few steps.
"We probably have another five minutes before the unconscious soldiers come around."
Jace jogged, punched in data on the screen, and glanced over his shoulder making
sure they weren't being followed. "Lee's office is the second on the right, but what
makes you think he'll give us the files?"
"We promised Isabelle we wouldn't kill anyone… we didn't say a word about intimidating
the crap out of them." Cal shot him a grin. "Lee knew he hadn't seen the last of
me. Isabelle has a feeling about him that he wants out. I think with REM, he's gotten
in way over his head. He’s probably not the only one who feels this way. There'll
be others, and I can't blame any of them. We were lucky to get out of with our skin
intact. I'm sure the others think if they try and leave, REM will kill them. We know
that’s right. REM's experiments are too important. Anyone's expendable if it means
they can keep their goals in site and achieve success with the dreamers."
Jace shook his head in disgust. In the past, he and Cal hadn’t once questioned REM’s
motives. They blindly followed like a bunch of dumb-ass lemmings. Had REM used them
in past missions for their own personal gains? Had they killed innocent men? That
thought ground like claws deep in Jace’s stomach.
This wasn't what he wanted. He had signed on to help people. Make the world a safer
place. He’d thought REM was that place. He and Cal had been very wrong.
Taking one last glace down the deserted, long white hall, he raised his fingers counting
down. Three, Two, One, then twisted the door, kicking it wide as they entered simultaneously.
Jackson Lee's head shot up as he quickly pushed back from his desk, and started
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Seeing the doctors hand reach for the red button
on the side of the desk, Cal slammed his fist down, crushing the doctor's fingers
"Surprised to see us again?" Jace casually leaned a shoulder against the wall. Picking
a paperweight off the corner of the desk, he inspected it.
"I didn't realize it was you." Recognition flashed on on Lee's face. "What the hell
do the two of you want?" The doctor was about the same age Jace and Cal, in his
late twenties, but there were lines of fatigue around his eyes.
Jace wondered what kind of lies REM told this man to bring him into their fold. Everyone
had a story. Jace hoped someday he would be able to hear the doctor's.
"You know who we are?" Cal asked. Lee didn't offer an explanation, but Jace knew
it wasn't a good sign that someone from REM remembered them. If Lee did, maybe the
rest of REM remembered who they were also.
Jace pressed out to enter the doctor's thoughts, but met a strange, impenetrable
wall. It wasn't the first time he and Cal had experienced this. It wasn't normal. He
and Cal could telepathically read almost everyone. It was something REM had done
to alter these men's minds.
"What is that?" Jace asked, frowning. "I can't read you. It's the same with Commander
Barnes." He noticed a trickle of blood seep from Lee's nose as he grabbed a white
handkerchief and dabbed it away. "Better be careful what you wish for. You shouldn't
try to create things you haven't been born with," Jace said unemotionally.
The doctor’s dark blue eyes flashed with anger. "Too bad you have no idea what you're
talking about," Lee bit his words out. Jace caught another look in Lee’s eyes, almost
as if he were lost, and couldn’t find his way home.
Jace felt the shield in the doctors mind shimmer, as if it were going to drop, but
then snap back in place like steel.
"You have something we need." Jace set the paperweight down, and pushed out a chair.
He settled his large frame into it, and propped his black heeled leather boots on
the edge of the desk.
"Is there a reason you two have singled me out?" the doctor asked. Rolling his chair
back, he laced his fingers behind his neck trying to look casual. His white lab coat
fell open, exposing a blue dress shirt and jeans underneath. "REM’s already doing
a good job of slowly killing me off. Are you two here to help it along and make it
"All we want are the files." Cal shifted a hip onto the desk.
"I know what you want." The doctor looked between them, narrowing his eyes. "I'm
one of the head scientists here at REM. Don't talk to me like I'm stupid."
"We would never assume to, doctor. If you help us…" Cal started before the doctor
cut him off.
"What's in it for me?"
"You get to live." Cal's eyes darkened to a shade of splintered gold.
"Live?" Lee said with a hardened laugh. "I just told you I'm a dead man anyway I
look at it. I'm dead from the drugs REM’s forcing me to take. I'm also dead if REM
find out I've given you any information regarding the dreamers, or if they find out
the two of you are still alive. Do you like the odds? I'm not a betting man, but
I think I’m pretty well screwed."
"I think you're a good man Jackson." Jace dropped his feet off the desk, and leaned
forward. "You didn't sign on to hurt innocent people… just like Cal and I didn't.
REM used us. Used the dreamers. You can help us stop them."
"I'm doing what I can." The doctor's steely blue eyes met Jace's. He dropped his
head, and ran a hand through his dark hair. "Is Isabelle all right?"
Jace saw the muscles in Cal's body tense with the mention of her name.
"No thanks to you," Cal said coldly.
"She wished you out of here didn't she? She did it. I knew she could." The doctor
turned to face Cal.
Cal's eyes were violent, protective. "We're not here to talk about Isabelle. We're
here for the files."
"I'll tell you what. It's a simple request." Lee watched Cal. "You tell me she's
all right, and I'll give you what you came here for."
"Go to hell." Jace read Cal, he was ready to hurt the doctor. Mortally.
Lee spoke slowly and precisely. "While she was here at the REM labs, I examined her.
I was her doctor. I know she's carrying your child."
Jace tried to stop him, but was late. Cal’s fingers laced tightly around Lee’s throat,
squeezing the oxygen from his windpipe.
"It's not like that. For once you have it wrong." The doctor wheezed. "I don't want
her here. I hope you have her as far away from this place as possible. I need to
know she's with you, because if she's here…" His words trailed. Lee's eye's remained
open. "Tell me that she's with you, and the child's safe."
Lee closed his eyes as a shudder ran through his body. The black steel wall in his
mind shimmered, and dropped away to color. Images and thoughts flooded Jace's mind.
The doctor was talking gently to Isabelle watching an ultra-sound image of the small
beating heart of her child on the screen. Lee jotted data into her file, but Jace
saw that he was leaving pieces out about the child’s abilities. Another image flashed
into Jace’s mind. Lee was strapped down to a table as someone shot a hypodermic needle
into his arm as he struggled, against his will.
Jace heard Lee speak in his mind. I feel both of you inside my head. I know you're
reading my thoughts. I can read others that REM's forced to take Rixola, but we still
can’t read true telepaths like you. If you read my thoughts, then you know I'm not
going to use any information to hurt Isabelle. Don’t tell me where she is. I only
want to know that she's safe and not at REM.
"She's safe," Cal said. There were deep red imprints from his fingers on Lee’s throat.
Cal let his hand slide free, and drop to his side.
Lee closed his eyes and rubbed the marks. "Thank God. REM can never get that child.
He holds too much power."
"They won't." A muscle twitched in Cal's cheek. "If REM ever lays a finger on my
son, you'll know I'm dead, because that's what it will take for them to ever get
The doctor smiled faintly. "That's what I wanted to hear you say." He leaned over,
Jace tensed waiting to see if he was reaching for the alarm button. Instead Lee opened
a file drawer and lifted out a manila folder. "This is a dreamer’s folder," the doctor
said, sliding it across the desk.
Jace flipped it open. A dark haired woman with large brown eyes stared back from
a photo. He picked through the others. She was with a young man, from the facial
similarities, Jace assumed it was her brother. The second she stood with a tall blond
man. Husband? Jace wondered, scanning the data for a name. "Maribelle Castillo. She's
a dreamer?" he asked.
"You are holding REM's only hard copy file on her,” Lee added.
"You can't expect me to believe that there are no computer files on Castillo in REM's
databases," Jace questioned.
"Hundreds. Possibly thousands, or more." The doctor stood and walked to the other
side of the room. "But you are holding the only hard file."
Understanding flashed in Cal's eyes. "It's the same as Isabelle's file." He stopped
and frowned. "But she took her file when we escaped from REM, and then wished REM
didn't remember us. If REM doesn't remember us after Isabelle’s dream, then how do
"I know I won't be able to say anything that would make you trust me. I'd rather
keep our relationship that way." Lee paused before continuing. "That's why I asked
about Isabelle. Right now, I'm the only one who remembers the three of you. When
Isabelle dreamed, you did disappear off REM's radar. I have a file of my own on a
few dreamers. It's my strategy to stay alive."
"If you have copies of these files, do others?" Jace asked.
"I told you, I'm one of REM's top scientists. I have a high level of clearance. If
REM had your files, you and Galloway would be dead. That's what I am trying to avoid."
"We'd like that too.” Jace tapped the file with his finger. “This is only one file,
on one dreamer. We know there are others."
"Suspecting a security breach… like the two of you are doing right now, REM moved
the dreamer's hard files. This was the only file I was able to get my hands on."
Lee smiled sadly. "If I'm still alive in a month, I'll try and contact you with additional
"If Isabelle dreams, once we have this file safe-" Cal started, but the doctor cut
"Then Maribelle Castillo will no longer be in danger.” An alarm sounded on his desk.
“You need to leave my office. If REM suspects any wrong doing, I won't be here to
help you next time."
Jace nodded. "We weren't expecting the two guards that ambushed us in the hall."
"I'll take care of the security cameras. Have Isabelle add it to the wish in her
dream. The guards won't remember it ever happened."
Jace tucked the folder inside his vest and zipped it closed. They stood, and stepped
towards the door.
"Can you telepathically read your child inside Isabelle? Can he communicate with
you?" the doctor asked.
Cal turned, and watched the doctor for a long moment before answering, "Yes. He can."
The doctor closed his eyes and sank back in the chair. "Amazing. Galloway, thanks
for trusting me with that information. I hope I'm around to see the two of you next
Jace knew the danger the doctor was in, he hoped so too.